Every movement begins with a moment.
We’ve all probably heard some of the crazy stats that tell the story of YouTube’s meteoric rise and global impact on society. Just in case you haven’t seen the latest numbers, or if you’re hoping to impress folks at an upcoming cocktail party, here are the most recent stats:
According to Nielsen, YouTube reaches more U.S. adults ages 18–34 than any cable network.
More than 6 billion hours of video are watched each month on YouTube; that’s almost an hour for every person on Earth, and 50% more than was watched in 2012.
Mobile makes up almost 40% of YouTube’s global watch time.
YouTube is the second largest search engine, processing 3 billion searches a month.
Just to recap, Millennials, mobile, engagement and search. So what’s not to love, you ask? Well, nothing, assuming you’re ready to invest the time and resources to create an experience that your current and potential consumers will find valuable. But before we cover the six ground rules for success, let’s first talk about the new YouTube One Channel and what it means for brands.
The Launch of YouTube One Channel
It’s been more than eight months since YouTube launched its new design, One Channel. In addition to enabling consistent branding across all devices, the new modifications heavily focus on converting viewers into subscribers.
YouTube’s previous design and functionality restricted brands’ appearances across devices, with no uniform look. This ultimately hindered the viewing experience for users. However, One Channel is designed to work across all devices and platforms. Whether it’s Android or iOS, mobile, Web or TV (small screen or large), the One Channel design scales, which enables viewers to enjoy the same visually compelling, entertaining experience anywhere, anytime. The obvious goal here: increase the amount of time viewers engage with YouTube content — even when they are on the go.
So how is subscribing different now? Once a user subscribes to a brand’s channel page, the brand’s videos and updates will automatically appear on that user’s guide and home page. Subscribing makes it easier for users to navigate to the channels they love, as branded content is conveniently delivered to their home pages. For brands, subscribers are much more valuable than standard viewers, since the former watch twice as many videos as the latter.
Tips for Engaging Subscribers
Know YouTube’s role and purpose: Develop and implement a YouTube plan that fits into your overarching marketing strategy and aligns with your business goals. Place your target audience at its core. Engage with them in relevant, meaningful ways, and you’ll see your subscriber numbers climb.
Remember that content is king: It all comes down to the relevancy and richness of your content. Have a content plan in place and update it frequently. Produce, sponsor and license videos that align with your strategy, reflect your brand and resonate with your target. Maximize your budget by being efficient and creative with your approach. For example, share behind-the-scenes footage, feature user-generated content (UGC) and post influencer videos, all of which offer a fresh perspective while building a community of brand enthusiasts.
Be analytical: Use analytics to ensure that your videos are resonating with viewers and subscribers. YouTube’s native analytics are free and can help you identify and track key metrics so that you can measure, adjust and evolve your content based on performance. You can also monitor user actions on your channel, view referral information, and more by integrating a Google Analytics tracking ID to your YouTube channel.
Make your first impression count: Design channel art that showcases and celebrates your brand’s personality. Your cover image is the biggest piece of branding on your channel and — thanks to the new updates — is now visible across all devices. Also, take advantage of the new trailer feature, which is easily your best opportunity to convert viewers to subscribers. Remember that this is the first piece of content a non-subscriber will see, so be sure to select a video that dynamically captures what your brand and content are all about.
Share the love: Expand the reach of your YouTube channel by cross-promoting its content on your other social channels. Encourage your subscribers to share their favorite videos. Include YouTube links in your tweets, and embed videos on your own website.
Spread the word: Use media to promote your YouTube channel. This is crucial for brands since ads will always help to give your videos an initial lift in views. Ad units were not affected by YouTube’s updates, and TrueView remains a promising ad unit. The following ad formats are available for brands through AdWords: in-stream ads, in-search ads and in-display ads.
This article was originally featured on Adotas, Where Interactive Advertising Begins on 1/23/14.
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